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March 17, 2014 — There was no stopping the University of Wyoming Nordic women’s team.
From the opening race last Tuesday through the entire weekend, the Cowgirls dominated the field at the United States Ski and Snowboard Association (USSSA) national championships at Lake Placid, N.Y.
The UW women won their sixth national title since 2003 with another dominating performance Saturday, March 15, on the ski trails that also were used for the 1980 Winter Olympic Games. The Cowgirls won every single race -- four in all -- during last week’s championships.
It capped off a perfect season for the UW women who went unbeaten during the regular season conference schedule.
“The women simply crushed it again. They are now officially the national champions,” says UW head co-Coach Christi Boggs. But there was never any doubt after the Cowgirls built an insurmountable 25-point lead heading into Saturday’s final relay race.
As for the UW men, a strong St. Olaf College (Northfield, Minn.) went wire-to-wire this week, leaving the defending national champion Cowboys settling for the runner-up trophy.
Led by the strong one-two scoring punch of Cody’s Sierra Jech and Elise Sulser of Casper -- who were first- and second-place finishers in the overall individual point standings -- the Cowgirls dominated the final relay race. Bridget Weiner of Casper was the third member of UW’s all-Wyoming relay team. She finished fifth in the overall individual standings, giving the Cowgirls three of the five top finishers.
It was that dominating of a performance for the Cowgirls this week.
UW’s women had a team-low 41 points during the week’s four events, beating runner-up St. Olaf, which scored 75 points. A distant third was Colorado Mesa University (Grand Junction) with 121 points. Cornell University was fourth with 153.
The Cowgirls’ other USSSA national titles were in 2003, 2004, 2007, 2009 and 2010.
The UW men finished the week by placing second in the final relay, finishing behind the overall national champion St. Olaf team. On the Pokes’ three-man relay team were Casper skiers Pat Rodgers and Nathan Hough and Kyle Bochanski of Fairfax, Vt.
“Our men’s team skied amazing and edged out Clarkson University in a sprint for second,” Boggs says. “St. Olaf won it, but were pushed the whole way by our men.”
St. Olaf took the national team title with 45 overall points, while the Cowboys scored 71. Clarkson University (Potsdam, N.Y.) was third with 99 points and Cornell University had 126.
Hough placed fourth in the overall individual standings, while Bochanski and Rodgers were seventh and ninth, respectively.
“It was truly a fantastic week. They all skied amazing and it was hard fought for both the men and the women,” Boggs says. “We couldn't be prouder of the heart they each put into the competition this week.”
UW Nordic ski team member Sierra Jech of Cody carried a “Poke Pride” flag across the finish line in first place during the team relay event. The Cowgirls won their sixth United States Ski and Snowboard Association (USSSA) national championship, competing last weekend at Lake Placid, N.Y. (Gerald Jech Photo)